Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few weeks you have probably heard of Bird Box. Or at least seen the memes based on the film.
What is it about?
Bird Box is a Netflix original and has seen unprecedented viewing figures since it’s release. The premise is cool. Basically, it is a post-apocalyptic setting. The world as we know it was brought down by “demons”. Don’t worry they are never shown. It isn’t tacky. These demons cause people to commit suicide. (often in a fairly graphic way.)
There are some nice little plot twists as the film travels back and forth between the present day and the past. This allows us to view the world when disaster struck. It’s done well so you never feel like you are struggling to follow which timeline you are in.
But is it worth the hype?
Cliff notes version. It is a good film and worth a watch. Does it deserve the level of hype it is receiving? Well, that is a more complex question.
Tales of the end of society are not uncommon. This is at its heart a very similar to zombie flicks. If you liked 28 days or Dawn of the dead later you may get a kick out of this film. Instead of using actual zombies the survivors are being stalked by an unseen presence. But not unlike other zombie-movies the “big bad” itself is not the only threat to their safety. Figuring what is going on through the subtle clues is a nice touch.
Watched in 4k it is a pretty film. Using minimal special effects was a stroke of genius. The gory scenes are hard-hitting and seldom over the top. We are not looking at a final destination style gore-fest, but when people die it’s hard-hitting. And plenty of them do. The first person shots where people are wearing blindfolds are a nice addition and help to ramp up the drama. The score is perfect and sounds all add to the atmosphere which is compelling.
Sandra Bullock shows her acting chops as she carries this movie. Her character is strong and independent. Which at times makes it hard to be sympathetic towards her. I think they could have gradually softened her character, but that’s more an issue with the writing rather than the performance which was stellar. Arguably one of her best performances.
She is joined by a strong back up the cast. The cameo from Machine Gun Kelly was cool and he’s not a bad actor, which is handy as Eminem has destroyed his rap career! John Malkovich plays the alcoholic role fantastically. He doesn’t have to do much. Just show up being John Malkovich and it is memorable. There are a few hammy moments but generally, the acting is great. Kudos to the child actors as well.
All of these factors combine to make a film that is watchable but lacks a clear message. You couldn’t call it plot-driven as the nature of the demons isn’t really revealed. Perhaps it is supposed to be a movie making a commentary on how human beings react under pressure. Demonstrating the very worst and best of humanity. But that’s old hat and it isn’t really emphasised enough. The ending left me feeling a little flat. It wrapped things up but there were still plenty of unanswered questions. Sometimes that can be a good thing as it gets people talking, but in this instance not so much.
Either way, it has provided the internet with a swath of cool memes and has made Netflix a bunch of money so who am I to criticise? I’m now off to watch Bandersnatch!